Review of Dec 22, 2021 Public Council Meeting
Council of the Municipality of Cumberland met via zoom for a Public Council Meeting on Wednesday, December 22, 2021. The meeting opened with a territorial acknowledgement.
Second Reading was given to an updated Open Air Burning bylaw. The update removes reference to prohibiting open air burning in Springhill and provides a consistent approach to open air burning across the municipality. First reading took place November 24, 2021.
A signing authority policy was approved by council. The policy will improve upon governance and internal control and encourage timely signing practices.
An update to the reimbursement of members of council and CAO policy was approved. The change includes streamlining the process to ease delays in administration. Expenses for council and CAO can be found on the municipal website https://cumberlandcounty.ns.ca/council-and-cao-expenses.html
Council continued work on a policy that would enable the creation of a youth council. The youth council is planned to be an advisory body to municipal council on matters which impact youth. Council approved the policy, and looks forward to putting the policy into action in 2022.
The Parrsboro sanitary sewer project expanded the wastewater collection systems in the community and created a new wastewater treatment plant. The project was undertaken to comply with Environment Canada’s wastewater regulation. The project was completed in 2018 at a total cost of $12,675,000. Unfortunately, federal and provincial funding was based on original project estimates leaving a funding shortfall of approximately $4 million to be funded by the Municipality. A local improvement charge was levied upon properties which were along sewer lines, a one-time payment of $4941 or 20 annual payments of $345. Residents have impressed upon council the hardships the unexpected local improvement charge has caused.
Council received a report and recommendation regarding the charge from CAO Greg Herrett at tis evening’s meeting. Council approved in principle a funding solution to the Parrsboro sanitary sewer project. The Municipality would reduce the one-time charge to one twentieth of its current amount (or $247.05), that billing in respect of the annual payment option be discontinued such that any annual charges represent that for one year only and that billing in respect of the monthly payment option be discontinued after 12 monthly bills have been issued. It is proposed that refunds, equal to 19/20ths of the one-time billing (or $4,693.95), would eventually be issued to those who have already paid the full one-time charge. This would effectively bring all property owners to a one-year basis.
This proposal would represent approximately $2,584,334 in foregone revenues over a 20 year period. It is proposed that this be funded by placing the funds necessary in a special capital reserve account from which the debt service payments would be made over the remaining life of the debenture. Approximately $1,953,643 of the funding required would come from additional Municipal Fiscal Capacity Grants received in the current fiscal year. The remaining funds would come from existing reserves – which largely been generated by budget surpluses.
Council directed the CAO to provide a detailed report for the January, 2022 Committee of the Whole, including the draft amendments to the Local Improvement Bylaw necessary to give effect to the recommended changes. These proposals would require the formal approval of Council through the amendment of the bylaw and any related policies.
Council gave first reading to an amendment to the solid waste bylaw, to ensure continuity of flow control of solid waste and to provide export rates.
First reading was given to the land use bylaw, to include a new section 5.1.23 which allows for a six-month period starting December 22, 2021, where development permit applications will not be received. This is to allow for the municipality to review the requirements for both small and large scale wind development permits.
Council authorized the installation of new attendant shelters at transfer stations. The estimated cost is $19,700 plus tax and will be paid for from current year surplus. Transfer stations are located in Advocate, Pugwash and River Hebert.
Council approved the Minudie Heritage Association’s (MHA) application for demolition of a municipally recognized heritage property at 5355 Barronsfield Road, Minudie.
Council requested a staff report on crosswalk safety in Springhill, due in time to be considered for upcoming budget considerations.
Council recognized numerous residents and organizations in the municipality prior to adjourning.
The next public council meeting will be January 26, 2022 at 3:30 p.m. A committee of the whole meeting will be held January 19, 2022 at 3:30 p.m. Formal minutes of the December 22 meeting will be available at https://cumberlandcounty.ns.ca/2021-council-minutes.html within 24 hours of the meeting. A Facebook live recording is available on the municipal Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MunicipalityofCumberland